A Fish Diet: One Man’s Attempt to Overthrow the Penguin King

30 Aug

 Matt Webb

So, I got into this whole discussion about penguins. You know when you’re absolutely certain that you’re right about something, but you don’t want to just look it up in a book or on the internet or something in case you find out you’re wrong? I had that. So, there are Emperor Penguins and there are King Penguins. My argument was that there must also be a penguin king. I forget why I was so certain of this. My friend, who I was arguing with, told me that I was being fucking ridiculous. Red rag to a bull.

The following are excerpts taken from my book, A Fish Diet: One Man’s Attempt to Overthrow the Penguin King. The book itself consisted of journal entries during my long solitary study of penguin behaviour in the wild and my efforts to become their king. Please enjoy.

October 18th: Arrived in Nuuk, Greenland early in the morning. Seems dark, but due to get lighter soon, I think. Surprised to find the entire place full of Danes. Why are there so many Danes in the South Pole? Friendly people, but perhaps rather simple..? Met with blank stares when enquiring into local penguin habitats. Good people to have around when you’re short of a beer or two though.

October 21st: Massive hangover. Naked. Cash gone. Can’t remember anything from the last two days. When I said the Danes were useful people to have around in a beer shortage, I wasn’t wrong. In fact, writing that is the last thing I can remember. Christ it’s dark though. And freezing arsed cold. I thought this was meant to be the summer season? Must go looking for penguins.

October 22nd: Fuck me. I knew I should have done more research after agreeing to do this study. No wonder the Danes were looking at me funny when I was asking about the Penguins. This is the Arctic, not the Antarctic! God dammit! I just thought…well…I wasn’t thinking, basically. I’m thousands of miles away from where I need to be! Balls.

October 25th: Well, that hit the credit card a mighty blow and no mistake. Finally arrived in Dunedin, New Zealand. From here I will be able to get on a ship sailing with more science types like me to Ross Island. Apparently this is where all the Antarctic action is.

October 26th: Holy crap! There are penguins in New Zealand! Did you know that? Actual honest to goodness penguins. And no snow! Who knew? The ones I was looking at today are called Fiordland penguins, and are hilarious.

What they think they’re doing with those haircuts, I don’t know. They have a kind of smugness about them that almost makes me want to slap them.

October 27th: I had better set down my objectives before I get started with any kind of actual study. I have more or less decided to stay in New Zealand to carry out this investigation because:

  1. I did some research and found out that the Antarctic is fucking FREEZING even in summer – imagine that! All the other science guys had coats and everything!
  2. There’s television and stuff in Dunedin and to be honest, I’m probably going to get bored and give up halfway through the study and it’d be best to have somewhere nice to hang out when my interest in the penguins wanes.

So, what am I aiming to accomplish over the next few months?

  1. Integrate myself into the penguin colony. Become accepted as one of them.
  2. Establish the existence of the Penguin King.
  3. Overthrow the Penguin King.
  4. If there’s time, see if there’s a way of creating a human/penguin hybrid. That’d be awesome. It would probably get me on the cover of magazines and stuff. In the movie of my life there’d be that scene where all the newspaper headlines and magazine front covers declaring me the “Man of the Year” would spin onto the screen. Sweet. The “nuts and bolts” of the hybridisation process may sound pretty gross, and it probably is. But. Uh. I guess I can use a pipette or something. That’s a science thing, right?
  5. One I just thought of – can I train the penguins to follow me into battle? I might be able to lead a penguin revolution against the rule of man and take over New Zealand for myself…? Something to think about. It’s nice here.

October 30th: All the other science guys are being mean to me. They say that there is no such thing as the penguin king and they laughed at me and then they snapped my clipboard in half and threw it in a ditch. They’ll be sorry when my penguin army takes revenge.

October 31st: Decided to celebrate my birthday by getting started on my studies. Initial impressions of this particular penguin colony are favourable enough. Mainly, they spend their days standing about and sometimes diving for squid. Once or twice they were pestered by some seagulls. That was seriously it.

November 5th: This is turning into a bit of a snooze fest to be honest. The penguins are shit scared of me, so far. They spend a lot of time hiding in caves, under tree stumps etc. At one point, a particularly bold one approached me. The way he was holding his little wing made me think he was offering me a high five. I am not known for leaving people hanging, even if those people are penguins, so I met his high five. He turned away at the last second with a squawk and I missed him. Either:

  • Penguins have no concept of high fives and he saw my attempted hand slap as some kind of attack, which he ran away from.
  • That particular squawk was penguin for “too slow” and he was enjoying a joke at my expense.

I will see if the little bastard comes back so I can further experiment with these possibilities.

November 17th: I have taken to sleeping with the penguin colony as well as spending my days with them. This will doubtless speed up the integration process. Also, those flights from Greenland to New Zealand were not cheap and I can’t really keep paying for the hostel I’ve been staying in. I am already down to one “human” meal per day, to ease the strain on the budget. The rest of my diet is made up of squid and fish taken from the penguins. I tried hunting but have not been able to get near a fish or squid yet. However, these penguins are only about 40cm high so it’s really easy to bully the little fuckers out of their food.

November 18th: Trying to sleep in a cave designed to house a 40cm tall bird is not easy. I tried just stuffing my head inside (10% of all body heat is lost through the noggin, so I thought this would be the best way to stay cosy) but this just doesn’t work. A seagull tried to eat my toes in the night and when I tried to get up to shoo it away I hit my head and the roof of the cave collapsed into my mouth and up my nose.

November 21st: After three weeks of hard work I finally think I can consider myself a part of the penguin colony. I bought myself a spade and dug out a cave big enough for me to sleep in and when I woke up, a penguin was sharing it with me, looking sheepish. I don’t think anything “happened” but when we came out of the cave the rest of the penguins refused to meet my eye. At least they’ve stopped running away from me. Apart from the odd display of annoyance at my stealing their food, I think they now accept me as one of them.

November 22nd: Turns out that the penguin I found in my cave yesterday morning was the same little bastard that burned me with his fake high five! I’ve named him Tim, as this is the name of a total douche bag that I know back at home. The reason he was looking so sheepish was that he’d just taken a crap on my face. So, apparently I’m accepted into the colony, but I’m definitely bottom of the pecking order. The fact that the penguins seem to understand the concept of toilet humour intrigues me. We’ll see if they understand the concept of revenge!

November 29th: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Amazing! Last night I waited till all the other penguins had gone to sleep. I crept up to the opening of Tim’s cave and laid a huge dump there. This morning when he came out of the cave, the pile of poo I’d left there was so big he tripped over it and fell on his face! Take that, Tim! The other penguins seemed to appreciate it, as later on I found an offering of squid and fish outside my cave. It seems that Tim is a notorious dickhead in these parts. I’m already climbing the social ladder!

To be continued….


One Response to “A Fish Diet: One Man’s Attempt to Overthrow the Penguin King”


  1. Nemesis Part Three: There’s No Business Like Zom-Business « Dance ricky dance! - September 12, 2011

    […] King, I refer you to my own works “The Penguin King – He Totally Exists” and the lesser known “A Fish Diet: One Man’s Attempt to Overthrow the Penguin King.” Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

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